The rupture of the amniotic sac is a sign of childbirth. Therefore, this is a crucial stage in the third trimester of pregnancy. You should watch out for excessive fluid discharge from your vagina. At the same time, don't worry that you are urinating more than usual. Is it confusing? Here, we will help you grasp a complete understanding of the causes and symptoms of leaking amniotic fluid and how you can face it and take care of yourself.
Reasons for Amniotic Fluid Leakage
The fetus is surrounded by a fluid-filled membranous bag called the amniotic sac inside the uterus. This bag protects the fetus during the entire pregnancy. When this sac breaks (at labor), the fluid leaks through the cervix and vagina.
Regarding the question “what color is amniotic fluid" it must be said that a normal amniotic fluid is usually colorless and transparent. In some cases, it can also be kind of yellowish. However, it turns brown or green when the baby experiences its first bowel movement.
The breaking of the water sac is accompanied by the release of hormones and certain chemicals that cause contractions. These contractions are felt a few hours after the breakage of the water sac. In the 34th week of pregnancy, too much amniotic fluid is gathered in the sac. The amount of amniotic fluid increases from 800 ml to one liter. This liquid is continuously swallowed, inhaled, and expelled by the fetus. In addition, in the presence of the amniotic fluid:
- The fetus can move easily inside the uterus.
- It keeps the temperature around the fetus constant.
- Proper development of the lungs and digestive system is possible.
And when it's time to give birth, this fluid prepares your body to deliver the baby. However, water sac rupture is not always a sign of labor, as it can sometimes happen prematurely.
The water bag is a membrane containing amniotic fluid that covers the fetus and the placenta as well as the umbilical cord. The continuation of the fetus's life depends on it. Here are the reasons for the rupture of the water bag during pregnancy.
Rupture of the Amniotic Sac due to the Completion of the Pregnancy Period
As the pregnancy progresses, the amniotic sac ruptures on its own, and you enter labor. This causes the amniotic fluid to flow through the vagina as a trickle, a slow leak, or a rapid stream.
Rupture of the Amniotic Sac due to Infection or Surgery
Suppose the rupture of the water sac occurs before the completion of the pregnancy period and after the 37th week. In that case, this condition is called premature rupture of the membranes (PROM). This may happen for the following reasons:
- Infection of the vagina, uterus, or cervix
- Excessive stretching of the amniotic sac (due to high fluid levels or multiple pregnancy)
- Cervical surgery or biopsy
- Having a history of premature rupture of the water bag
In such a situation, most mothers enter labor within 24 hours after the rupture of the water sac.
Other Reasons for Rupture of the Amniotic Sac
Suppose the pregnant mother ruptures the water sac before the 37th week of pregnancy. In that case, this condition is referred to as preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM).
This condition occurs in about 3% of pregnancies and is the cause of one-third of premature births. The possibility of preterm premature rupture of the sac is higher in the following people:
- Pregnant mothers belonging to the lower socio-economic class
- Smoking mothers
- Pregnant women who have a history of sexually transmitted infections
- Mothers who have an account of premature birth
- People who have vaginal bleeding or uterine enlargement
Your doctor will arrange for delivery if your water bag breaks before 34 to 37 weeks of pregnancy. However, suppose the water sac ruptures before the 34th week of pregnancy. In that case, the doctor will try to postpone the delivery by advising the mother to rest completely.
The doctor will prescribe you corticosteroids to prevent antibiotic infection and the rapid growth of the fetus's lungs. Delivery takes place when the fetus's lungs have grown sufficiently.
Once the water sac ruptures, the fetus is no longer protected by the amniotic fluid. But your body continues to produce fluids to facilitate labor. Therefore, you must recognize this to get the needed help in time.
Signs of Leaking Amniotic Fluid
The term water sac rupture is usually used to express the amniotic sac rupture during pregnancy. A significant eruption of amniotic fluid accompanies only one out of every ten pregnancies. The leakage of this liquid in most pregnant women is in the form of slow and continuous drops. According to these symptoms of amniotic fluid leakage, you can notice the rupture of the water bag:
- Discharge of a warm, clear, and odorless liquid from the vagina
- Sometimes this fluid also contains blood or mucus.
- Amniotic fluid usually does not stop leaking.
So, considering these symptoms can be helpful if you want to have an amniotic fluid leak test at home.
Sometimes the fluid coming out of the amniotic sac may be confused with urine or vaginal secretions. But knowing the difference between amniotic fluid leakage and urinary tract incontinence can prevent this mistake. Leakage of urine due to the pressure of the uterus on the bladder during pregnancy or urinary incontinence during pregnancy is a common issue. In this case, the urine smell will reach your nose when defecating. If there is no urine smell, you will know that the leakage of fluids may be due to the leakage of low amniotic fluid. You may experience an increase in vaginal discharge during pregnancy. These natural secretions have a mild odor and are milky in color, while amniotic fluid is clear and straw-colored.
It is essential to know that leaking excessive amniotic fluid and seeing vaginal discharge in the last month of pregnancy may be signs of premature labor. In such a case, you should see a gynecologist.
Complications of Amniotic Fluid Leakage
Different levels of amniotic fluid leakage during pregnancy can cause serious complications. Therefore, proper treatment for a pregnant mother is necessary. The risk of complications varies, but the most common ones include:
- Premature leakage of amniotic fluid during the first and second trimesters can lead to an increased risk of miscarriage or stillbirth.
- It can lead to problems regarding how the fetus and its organs grow.
- An infection may have entered the body if it is not time to give birth. The mother should be treated to prevent infection of the fetus.
When should you See the Doctor for a Leaking Amniotic Sac?
Do the mentioned amniotic fluid test. If you suspect that your water sac has ruptured and you are leaking amniotic fluid, you should see an obstetrician. Because if you have the following symptoms, you should seek medical attention.
- Brown or green, foul-smelling discharge from the vagina
- Fever in pregnancy
- Feeling of pain in the uterus
- Fast heart rate
- Weight loss or lack of weight gain during pregnancy
If this diagnostic test was positive, do not use tampons or have intercourse. Doing anything that can increase the risk of bacteria entering the vagina and causing vaginal infection during pregnancy is prohibited.
By examining the vagina, the doctor examines the degree of dilation of the cervix and the pregnant woman's condition. To specify the size of the fluid around the fetus, an ultrasound is performed.
Treatment of Amniotic Fluid Leakage
The treatment process is selected according to the cause of amniotic fluid leakage, age, health, and fetus growth. Your doctor may recommend complete rest, meaning you should reduce your activities and rest most of the day. Avoiding sex may also be recommended. In case of infection, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics that are safe to use during pregnancy.
Leakage of amniotic fluid from the water sac is a natural phenomenon that leads to childbirth. But if the water is oozing out heavily, you may be at a loss and not know what to do. Get help from your wife, mother, or anyone with you. Ask them to call the hospital immediately. Most importantly, do not panic because it can transfer fear and anxiety to the fetus and complicate matters.